DWF created 5 STAR Futures in 2012 as its flagship education and employability programme. It has grown each year and won several legal and business awards on the way. DWF London has been working with Ark Walworth Academy for the past five years, led by Reena Buggal, Senior Associate in DWF's Catastrophic Personal Injury & Occupational Health department. The programme has helped hundreds of pupils to increase their confidence and employability skills ready for entering the world of work.
Each year, students in DWF's partner schools apply to be part of 5 STAR Futures. The programme is made up of interactive workshops in which the students are led and supported by volunteers from right across the DWF business – from partners to apprentices, IT technicians to HR advisors. Every workshop focuses on developing the students' communication skills, confidence and resilience, all the while promoting positive workplace behaviours.
The students from Ark Walworth Academy said this about this year's programme: "It boosted my confidence by allowing me to understand what positive things people thought of me"; "It taught me a lot about how I can present myself well"; and "I feel so much more confident in myself and would never have thought that I could do public speaking to this many people".
Carl Fazackerley, Head of Aspirations & Deputy Head of Sixth Form at Ark Walworth Academy, said: "Our partnership with DWF provides an unrivalled opportunity for our students to develop their employability skills through an extended programme that most certainly provides a meaningful encounter with an employer; we owe them our sincerest thanks for the continuing investment of time and effort in our young people."
Sean Monks, Associate in the Commercial Insurance department at DWF said: "The impact that Reena and this year's programme have had was clear for everyone to see at the awards evening. The whole team and the school are immensely grateful for all the work that Reena has put in to making the programme such a success for the students. Having run the programme in Manchester for five years, I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and leading our London programme from September 2018."
The 5 STAR Futures programme shows DWF's commitment to its people's values and to the education sector. DWF has also rolled out '5 STAR Business' for Head Boys, Girls and Deputies to learn practical leadership skills and '5 STAR Early Years' for encouraging the aspirations of primary school children.